Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What I know now

Dear Wesley,

Tomorrow is what feels like my first 'real' day back at work, and it is just awful. I really don't want to leave you. You're going to be with your dad and your grandma and grandpa, and I've been gone for short periods of time before, and I've even sat at my desk, and I've even pumped milk before. You'll probably nap through most of it, tomorrow, but... I really don't want to leave you. I really, really don't want to leave you.

I've written about this topic before. There are a few differences between this time and last time that I left my baby to go back to work. The last time, Jack was 13 weeks old and I'd been on full maternity leave for 13 weeks. This time, you are only 6 weeks old and it was not possible for me to abandon work completely. The last time, Jack went to daycare. This time, you will staying with your dad instead. The last time, I'd all but given up on my profession interests. This time, I can't give up. The stakes are much, much higher.

The last time, I didn't know how it would feel. This time, I can anticipate exactly. I know how painful it will be to think of you and not hold you. I know how much I will hate pumping instead of nursing you. I know that the pain will be physical, that I will feel it, feel my breasts fill with milk that you need and my arms empty of your weight. I know that I will want to spend every single minute looking at photos and videos of you and googling things about your development and planning things for your future, and that will be silly because it will be time wasted at work that I could be at home. I know that I'll feel guilty for that. I know that I'll feel guilty for the minor fulfillment that I get from work and for the minutes of personal time that inevitably happen when you sit at a desk all day - for chatting with someone in the hallway, for a daydream or a quick check to the news. I know that I will be upset and the analysis of the situation will distract me from work; that loss of productivity will upset me even more. Like how it's midnight now and perhaps if I was working on grants instead of working on my emotions, perhaps then I could spare some minutes at the computer screen tomorrow for minutes of holding you in my arms.

I wish I could write an honest resolution here. I could come up with something. I could write about why the alternative mom/dad work situations would not work for us, rationalize that you and I will not be emotionally separated by the physical separation, mumble a thing or two about how we will be just fine, just fine, because everyone does this. (I'm really scared those things are true). It wouldn't be hard to make it sound good. But it also wouldn't be honest.

Because, honestly? There's nothing to say to make this any better. That's what I know now.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy 6-week day, Wesley!

Wesley! You are 6 weeks old today!

You are just the sweetest, cuddliest little baby I could imagine. There are very few problems in the world that a good cuddle won't solve for you. You like to snuggle your little head right under my chin, and then you can look out to the left with your curious eyes. You are awake so much more, now, and you want to be held close all of the time. I don't mind - really, I don't, not a single bit, not when your hair smells so sweet and your skin is so soft and your little hands wrap around my shoulder. I think I could hold you for the rest of my life and do nothing else and be happy. You are growing so quickly, Wesley, it does make me sad to think of the time passing... but I'm so excited to see what kind of person you are.

Your yawn is my favorite expression so far. It is so darn cute, with that little pointed face and scrunched up nose!

One aspect of your personality that has come out very quickly is that you rather like things to be comfortable and constant. You don't want to shift position and you are not a fan of unexpected events, like the loss of someone's arm pressing against your side, a change in elevation, or startling sounds. You don't mind going in the car seat, but you also don't settle down from the motion of the car - in fact, the few times you've had extended crying jags have been while you're in the car seat and we can't get back there to comfort you. Another example of your desire for constancy is how much you dislike diaper changes. (This is in direct contrast to your brother, who found diaper changes nearly as entertaining as nursing). You get quite hysterical when we change your diaper, hugging your arms forward like you're being dropped and crying so hard that the tears start rolling down your cheeks before I can even get the new diaper underneath you - tears from the start, over diaper changes, from the baby who hardly cries about anything. It is really sad to me. The thing is, though, after a good cuddle, you always calm down. I just wish I could convince you that it will be OK so that you didn't have to be so upset during the diaper change.

You LOVE the Moby Wrap (Jack did not)

Here are a few things you like: being held tight, being swaddled, going in the ergo, going in the moby, wearing comfy clothes, being sung to, looking at patterns (the blinds behind our couch are a particular favorite), having a little massage, seeing happy faces, walking around, swaying, jiggling, gentle bouncing on the exercise ball, singing, nursing, and sucking on the pacifier. In some ways this seems like a short list, but I guess that's just because you are so darn easy to please. Really. Everywhere we go, we get comments about how unbelievably content and calm you are.

This onesie is so cute that I nearly can't stand it. And you've nearly outgrown it, already!

You hardly cry. I'm just going to put it here, for the record: we figure you cry for fewer than 15 minutes a day, maybe even less than 10. For a while, I actually wondered whether something was wrong, but our pediatrician assures us that you are simply a very content little guy. If I left you alone, I'm sure you'd cry more... and you've had a few "tough" days involving an upset belly ("tough" for you is "easy" for another baby)... but for the most part, if I just pick you up and take you with me - and don't change your diaper - there doesn't seem to be anything to complain about.


Here's the big news. Guess what, Wesley? At 6 weeks, you are smiling! It started right around 4.5 weeks, when your dad and I both kept commenting that it seemed like you wanted to smile... like, you'd get this little expression on your face that reminded us of a smile. We were pretty sure the small smiles we saw a few days later were real smiles. And then your grandpa Jim came in from Connecticut a few days ago and you started busting out some ear to ear grins for him. You really, really like your grandpa Jim. You smile more easily for him than for anyone else. My dad - your Papi - also got some good grins out of you.

This is as close to a smile as I could get on the camera! I know the ear-to-ear ones are coming soon...

We are counting our lucky stars that you have been a good sleeper so far! You slept from 10pm to 4am last night. 6 whole hours! 6 hours at 6 weeks! I can't believe it. So far you've tended to sleep one long stretch and then have a fussy period. Your typical schedule goes something like this... 10pm-2:00am, 2:30-4:00am, 4:30-6:00am, and then sort of fussy for a while after that (fussy meaning that you aren't sure whether you want to sleep or nurse). You sleep really well during the day, probably because I hold you most of the time. You have two very defined periods of awake time, one in the morning and one in the evening. I get the sense that you are going to like routines. You even seem to poop on schedule - nothing at night, and then right after your fussy period in the morning, you poop. I think that's why you're fussy in the early morning.


Sorry, Wes. Most baby-conversation revolves around the topic of poop.

We think you might be a blond. Your hair was black and curly when you came out, and then once we gave you a bath, it changed to a light brown. Except... your eyebrows and eyelashes are so blond! Your coloring is similar to Jack (who has light brown hair now), except he always had dark eyebrows and eyelashes. So, we are very curious. Your skin seems a bit on the yellow side, like mine is (as opposed to more of a red tone, like your dad).

Game time!

Here are a few other firsts in the last month. You went to your first baseball game! It was a diamondbacks game. You wore a special red onesie and slept or nursed through the whole thing. You've been spending loads of time with your grandpa Jim and grandma Nancy. You've taken a bottle - three times now. You've really started kicking your legs now, and you are just barely starting to bat at toys on your exercise mat.

You really like the pacifier

By the way, your big brother, Jack? He thinks you're pretty nifty. Jack is a busy guy during his day, but he always finds the time to come over and see what you are up to. If you are upset and we can't get to you, you know what he does? He comforts you. He tells you it's OK, that we'll be home soon, to please stop crying. He calls you "Wes" or "Wes-wee" and is careful and sweet to you. He shows you his toys and asks to hold you. I think you two are going to be buddies.

Well, now it's time for me to go to sleep, and what that really means is that I get to cuddle you more and kiss the top of your head and nurse you. Waking up at night isn't such a bad deal when you are involved.

There 'aint nothing that a good cuddle won't take care of

Love always,
Your mama

For every minute of tummy time, there's also time to relax and take a nap. I couldn't agree more.